New Delhi : After a massive protest by the Ravidas community in Delhi over the demolition of a temple in Delhi dedicated to the 16th century poet-saint Ravidas, one dalit leader and 90 others were arrested. The clashes turned violent with several people including 15 police personnel getting injured. The demolition of the temple situated in a forest area in south Delhi’s Tughlakabad on August 10 was carried out based on the Supreme Court’s orders.
The demolition immediately became an emotive issue for the followers of the Ravidassia religion, mostly comprising people from the so-called lower castes. Thousands of Dalits, who trooped into Delhi from states such as Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, marched from Ambedkar Bhawan in central Delhi to Ramlila Maidan on Tuesday.
It has turned political with many parties demanding that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot or at an alternative location. “First the BJP government messes around with Ravi Das temple – the symbol of cultural heritage of crores of Dalit sisters and brothers, and when thousands of Dalit brothers and sisters raise their voice in the national capital, the BJP baton-charges them, gets tear gas fired at them and arrests them,” the Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in her tweet.
While the protesters had permission to hold a rally only in Ramlila Maidan, Chandrashekhar Azad and thousands of his supporters tried to reach to the demolition site in Tughlakabad, some 21 Km away. Azad, who heads the Bhim Army, and the others arrested will be produced before a Delhi court today.